An Extraordinary Journey from Life Advice to India Style

After recent posts here focused on “stuff” and “things,” perhaps this post should have more intelligent words. Like big words with five syllables. Like “extraordinary.” I had shared some inspirational thoughts here a few weeks ago about how “extraordinary” should be within our reach if we want it.

Priya Iyer of Once Upon a Tea Time blog and curated magazine asked me to talk more about this.…

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Tribal Tassels

They’re all the rage right now in boho chic fashion and home decor: tribal tassels from lands now known as Rajasthan, Punjab, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan … but the tribes that make and use these fringy textiles have been around longer than states and nations and cross many borders. Their traditions have lasted generations too, of draping their yurts, their clothing and their camels with colorful…

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Painting and Stenciling in India

A few months ago I was sitting in my in-laws’ home in Chennai, India and kept staring at a big blank wall just inside the main entrance of their flat. It’s visible from the entire living room/dining/kitchen area. And I imagined, what if? What if it was a bold color? What if it had a design on it? Wouldn’t it make the place feel different? It would  welcome people as they stepped in. It…

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DIY Sari-Inspired Stenciled Wall Panel

So when I saw Royal Design Studio’s new Indian stencilslast month, I saw a sari! The patterns of India’s saris are so gorgeous, I could drape all the walls and windows in my house with them, and live inside a silken sari tent. But I don’t do such craziness because I live with a guy, and he wouldn’t be happy living in a tent made of women’s clothing. He’s already told me that his male business…

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India Travel Memories in Stenciled Silk

Oh how I love silk! I love the sheen. There’s nothing like it in other fabrics. Silk can take on the boldest, strongest colors and hold them fast and never let. I love the “hand” – how silk feels when you scrunch it up in your hand. It even makes a crunchy sound as a sewing machine needle punches through it. Silk appeals to all your senses. And now, I love painting on silk. This is not the last…

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Pinterest Color Serendipity

Do you ever get two or more pictures near each other on Pinterest that just “belong” together? Like the universe put those two pictures on the screen together for a reason. These two caught my eye before I scrolled further:

Pinterest Color Serendipity

Fuzzy Missoni knits for the autumn/winter 2014 season:

Missoni Sweater Dress F14

Travers’ 2012 collection of textiles in Tazza Embroidery pattern, actually inspired by India:

Travers Tazza Embroidery Fabric

Different times,…

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A DIY Indian-Inspired Closet Nook

See a DIY Indian-Inspired Closet Nook - Painted with Stencils!

If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you got little sneak previews while I was painting our Indian-inspired closet nook – revealed today at Paint and Pattern! It was once a plain white closet, now transformed into an exotic space loaded with color and patterns:

DIY with paint and stencils - an Indian-inspired closet reading nook

Head on over to the tutorial at paintandpattern.comto see how to stencil a closet nook bench like this. It’s actually pretty…

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The Bravery to Live an Extraordinary Life

The Bravery to Live an Extraordinary Life

Probably every one of us here has a different idea of what an “extraordinary” life is. Certainly our ideas reflect our own values and unique dreams. Even to “live an extraordinary life” is a value and a dream that not everyone has or has to have. But if you do want that and wonder if you can live it … I ask, how many of our dreams pass us by, when they didn’t have to? How many things do we think…

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Holey-Moley Holi Color

Here in Chicago they make our river run green round about now, for St. Patrick’s Day. But what’s spectacular about that? It’s only one color. I’m far more interested in the explosion of Holi colors happening now! Want some?

Handfuls of Holi Powder

If you haven’t heard of it yet, Holi is a Hindu festival in India that’s full of fun and frolic and the throwing of bright colored powders and colored water.

Holi Festival 2012 in Spanish Fork Utah

With all the…

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This all part of a project to be revealed soon! I LOVE silk - how it smells, feels, sews, now painting on it! Everything about silk is CRISP.

This all part of a project to be revealed soon! I LOVE silk - how it smells, feels, sews, now painting on it! Everything about silk is CRISP.

I Met Martyn Lawrence Bullard … at PIRCH

I Met Martyn Lawrence Bullard Today … at PIRCH

So today I met in person a design idol! Martyn Lawrence Bullard was in Chicago, at the opening of the first PIRCH showroom here. I figured if it’s worth his time and brand to attend, maybe I should see it. And my copy of Live, Love, Decoratewould be really sad without his autograph. Martyn delivered an autograph with penmanship as beautiful as the rooms he creates, and he was so gracious to chat…

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How to Paint New Walls to Look Old

Over the years I’ve posted photos of old-looking walls here and here and here. And over the years, many people have emailed asking, how do you do that? Finally! I get around to painting new walls to look old, and can show you. This is the first in a series of DIYs as I transform a plain closet into a luxurious patterned Indian-Moroccan sitting nook.

Here’s what you need to paint new walls to look…

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Color: A Teal Treat

Of all the jewel-tone colors, my fav is teal blue – a very deep blue-green color. It’s richer than turquoise. Turquoise is lighter and bluer, like the blue of the summer sky is in it. Turquoise is happy. Teal is moodier. Teal is murkier and more mysterious. I’m not sure what that says about me that I prefer teal over turquoise?!

Right now a closet in our guest room is being transformed from a…

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If You Want a Closet Sitting Nook, You Gotta Give Up a Closet

If You Want a Closet Sitting Nook, You Gotta Give Up a Closet

Follow along over the next few weeks as I turn a plain ol’ white closet into a colorful, patternful sitting nook! Here’s an inspiration photo:

Closet Nook Inspiration

This is the space that’s going to turn into something like the above photo:

Closet Makeover Before

Blah, yeah?!? There’s a bit of work to do! I’ll be sharing a few DIYs during this project:

  • How to make a pierced metal ceiling lantern like the pricey ones you see on Pinterest,…

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Mixing It Up in the Craft Store Aisles: Bejeweled Pillows

So last week I revealed that the beautiful Once Upon a Tea Time blog was kind to feature me in its monthly magazine, curated. And, there is a glimpse shared there of my (until now!) hidden passion for sewing pillows. Pillows are easy sewing projects where you can quickly add a lot of color and pattern to a room. I’ve collected small remnants of pricey new fabrics, and vintage sari and kimono…

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